Eduardo Dantas has returned to the throne.
Dantas brutalized former Nova Uniao teammate Marcos Galvao across five rounds, as he regained the Bellator MMA bantamweight championship with a unanimous decision in the Bellator 156 headliner on Friday at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California. All three judges sided with Dantas (18-4): 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43.
It was a rout in every sense of the word. Dantas picked apart the two-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion from the outside, connecting with two-, three- and four-punch combinations. Aside from his clean and powerful punching bursts, the 27-year-old chewed up Galvao’s lead leg with kicks, scored with a consistent jab and shut down what little return fire was sent his way. By the time the third round had concluded, Galvao’s right eye was nearly closed, the damage beginning to take its toll. He had nothing with which to turn the tide in rounds four and five, his title reign coming to an unceremonious end.
Dantas now owns a 2-0 advantage in the head-to-head series between the two, having also beaten Galvao (17-7-1) in their first meeting a little more than three years ago.
In the welterweight co-main event, onetime Tachi Palace Fights champion Chidi Njokuani disposed of Thiago Jambo Goncalves with a wicked body kick and light-switch ground-and-pound 2:39 into the third round. Njokuani (15-4) has won his last five bouts.
Goncalves (18-5) did not have the tools he needed to deal with the lanky kickboxer. He tried and largely failed to bottle up Njokuani in the clinch and wound up trapped on the outside, eating jabs and leg kicks. In the third round, Njokuani sent a kick crashing into the Brazilian’s ribs just below the armpit. The impact sent Goncalves to the canvas, where he was met with a series of punches that rendered him unconscious.
Meanwhile, Ultimate Fighting Championship and Strikeforce veteran John Salter submitted former Bellator middleweight champion Brandon Halsey with a first-round triangle choke in a featured confrontation at 185 pounds. Halsey (9-2) tapped 4:03 into round one.
Salter (12-3) cut the HB Ultimate standout below the right eyebrow with a head kick inside the first 30 seconds, permanently altering the direction of the fight. Blood poured from the wound and desperation overtook Halsey, who was forced to accelerate his plans. Salter later staggered him with another high kick, surrendered a single-leg takedown and calmly cinched the triangle from the bottom.
The 31-year-old Salter has rattled off four straight wins, all of them finishes.
Elsewhere, Dethrone Base Camp rep Chris Honeycutt registered his second victory in as many outings, as he pocketed a unanimous decision over Bellator Season 9 tournament finalist Mikkel Parlo in a three-round middleweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it for Honeycutt (8-1): 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
Parlo (13-3) enjoyed some success in the first round but ran out of steam over the final 10 minutes. Honeycutt threw more and landed more against the Dane, mixing in an occasional knee strike to the body. He routinely beat Parlo to the punch, firing off two- and three-shot combinations behind a sneaky left jab. Honeycutt iced it with a single-leg takedown in the closing seconds of round three.
In other action, Ben Reiter (17-1-1) took a unanimous verdict over A.J. Matthews (8-5) in a 15-minute middleweight battle, sweeping the scorecards with 30-26 marks across the board; and Blackzilians prospect Carrington Banks (5-0) claimed a unanimous decision against C.J. Keith (8-4) in their three-round undercard tilt at 155 pounds, earning 30-25, 30-26 and 30-26 scores from the judges.